The law isn’t an ass…


…just the AG makes it so

Like everything else in life, the law evolves. But as with everything else also, there’s always some who want to hold back evolution for their own selfish ends. Take the law. At one time the “law” was whatever the biggest, baddest and meanest fella in the tribe said it was. When they became “chiefs” and then “kings” as the tribe expanded, nothing much changed.

But with the expansion of the “tribe”, it became necessary for the king to delegate as to how his law was applied. In England, we had “writs” – literally “writing” – which described the specific transgressions and their sanctions and relief, issued to his officials. Problem was, these writs were very specific and if a particular wrong didn’t fit on all fours (literally) with the writ – the victim was screwed. As folks became more civilised and demanded some kind of equity, things opened up, as the new “courts”, as laws were broadened, they didn’t have to stick to “the letter of the law” – but could interpret as reasonable men.

It was a Dickensian character who dubbed the law an “ass” if it didn’t allow for exigent circumstances. And so it is in modern jurisprudence, we have to be leery of those who’d insist on a mechanistic application or interpretation of the law – so that it becomes an “ass”. It always means they don’t want to see real justice done – just to have the law fit their interest.

Right now in Guyana we see this insistence on the law being an ass in three egregious instances. One is the GECOM Chairman’s appointment. Attorney General and newly baptised Senior Counsel Basil Williams finally offered one of the most tortured interpretation of the words “or” and “other” – even pulling out an old Latin term from the Dark Ages of writs, “EJUSDEM GENERIS” to insist that only a judge can be the GECOM Chairman!

That none of the preceding five GECOM Chairs were Judges doesn’t matter – those Presidents and Opposition Leaders who appointed them didn’t know what they were doing. Including the two that oversaw the insertion of the “or” and “other” clause into the Constitution to make a CHANGE from the prior Article that insisted on only a Judge! Now any ordinary person would ask “What the heck was there the change if the intent was to remain with only judges as candidates?”

But then Basil Williams is not an ordinary person. He is the kind of lawyer who’d make the law an ass!

…just being dressed like one

Imagine in this, the year of our lord 2017, a magistrate insisted a person cannot seek justice in the court of his land because the applicant wasn’t dressed “like a man”!! There’s a law, of course, going back to the Victorian era that assumes the mores of those procrustean days, and specifies that stipulation. But the question in 2017 has to be – “What are the clothes of a male??”

Females in Victorian days had to wear skirts – but today females are allowed to wear pants to courts – so why can’t men wear dresses? In fact, a hundred years before Victoria the men of her court DID wear what could be called dresses! Even Islamic Malaysia has adapted! And the men of Scotland still wear kilts – which are skirts. But we know the clothes aren’t the issue, don’t we?

It’s this particular magistrate and others of his sanctimonious ilk – who would control sexuality and like Buju Banton, say “Bun dem!”

A pox on their courts!!

…and the people will decide

The last “assishness” in law is the case that’s about the extent of people’s power in a republic, but used as a trope for Bharrat Jagdeo‘s supposed desire for a “third term”.

But whether that is so or not, isn’t it the people who’ll decide in the end?